2 Women Driving By Tried Saving People Trapped in Vernon House Collapse

Two women said they ran to save people in the rubble after a home exploded and collapsed in Vernon on Thursday. 

Seven people were hurt and several people are still recovering in the hospital. 

Bandaged and a little bruised, Shawna Schnitzke and her friend, Lisa Gagnon, returned to the spot where a nightmare unfolded within minutes.

"We stopped right here. I didn’t even turn the car off. We went running," Schnitzke said.

While three people were outside of the home when the collapse happened, four more, including children, were trapped inside. 

With emergency crews still on the way, Schnitzke, a social worker, and Gagnon, a nurse, sprang into action. Schnitzke went to the back of the building and Gagnon ran to the front. 

"I heard the woman yelling, screaming. She told me her legs were pinned. There was a boy there and I had her knocking on the wood to try and find her," Schnitzke said.

The women jumped into the wreckage, scrambling in the direction of a woman who was yelling and hitting on the rubble.

When emergency crews arrived, Schnitzke was still inside the building.

"When the police were getting there they were saying, 'get back, get back' and I said 'I’m not getting back until she’s out'," Gagnon said. 

Schnitzke said she was hit by falling debris causing her to suffer a concussion, sprain her ankle and sustain cuts and bruises.

"I didn't even think. I just jumped in, tried to do what I could do. I would do it again," said Schnitzke.

The women credit first responders who took over for doing a great job.

Police said Saturday that four victims remain hospitalized - two children are listed in good condition at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, a 35-year-old female is listed in critical condition and a 23-year-old male is listed stable condition at Hartford Hospital.

More than a day after the collapse and police are still keeping an around the clock watch on the home which has since been demolished.

Investigators are expected back out on Saturday as they figure out what sparked the explosion.

Vernon Public Schools are collecting donations for the victims, several of whom are students. A local charity is also collecting donations.

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